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New York Senate Approves Gay Marriage

A Hisctoric gay marriage bill was approved in the New York senate with 33-29 votes. New York becomes sixth state to legalize gay marriage in U.S.

The New York Times reports:

Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples can wed, and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.

The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33 to 29 vote, as four Republican state senators joined 29 Democrats in voting for the bill. The Senate galleries were so packed with supporters and opponents that the fire marshals closed them off. And along the Great Western Staircase, outside the Senate chamber, about 100 demonstrators chanted and waved placards throughout the night ? separated by a generation, a phalanx of state troopers and 10 feet of red marble.

?Support traditional marriage,? read signs held by opponents. ?Love is love, Vote Yes,? declared those in the hands of the far more youthful group of people who supported it.

Senate approval was the final hurdle for the same-sex marriage legislation, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and was approved last week by the Assembly. Mr. Cuomo is expected to sign the measure soon, and the law will go into effect 30 days later, meaning that same-sex couples could begin marrying in New York by midsummer.

The Associated Press adds:

Gay rights advocates are hoping the vote will galvanize the movement around the country and help it regain momentum after an almost identical bill was defeated here in 2009 and similar measures failed in 2010 in New Jersey and this year in Maryland and Rhode Island.

Though New York is a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state’s size and New York City’s international stature and its role as the birthplace of the gay rights movement, which is considered to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.

Marriage equality has come to NY! Celebrate tonight!